Grief

So much of grief is about absence. A year ago, I was absorbed in my husband’s disease. I focused on him to such an extent that Dan and his cancer became my life. Somewhere in the back of my head was the question of what life would become without him, but reality demanded that I wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t think about that until my husband died.

Without this focus, what fills the void? Fleas? I wonder how much of this summer I’ve spent tweaking fleas off my ankles and dropping them in a kill jar of alcohol.

In the dreamtime version of this, I’m the flea. Some giant, or maybe some great god, pulls me off his leg. He absent-mindedly rolls my small hard body sideways between his thumb and forefinger, then drops me into my own heart, which he’s using as a kill jar. He does this over and over again, because that’s how the Titans have always tortured mortals. Whoever this Titan is, he’s so powerful he can this again and again even while he barely knows I’m there.

It’s hard to notice some of the best things about being married until they’re gone. Every day until Dan was too weak to stand up, we’d hug and hold each other. Even when his lips only drew rasps of breath, he was strong enough to kiss me. There was always someone to talk to. That’s how it is in a reasonably happy marriage: you’re with that one person who loves you enough to stay by you forever, to tell you you’re beautiful and wonderful and he’s so lucky he met you. And to accept from you all the things a person needs to give to someone else, in order to stay whole.

I miss it a lot. I hardly ever think about such things, just feel them–not as a tangible thing, mostly, but as a void.

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